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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 16, 2019 2:00pm-6:42pm EDT

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c-span.org. the senate is about to return for more legislative work. lawmakers have judicial nominations along with the consideration of a number of tax treaties. later today they will vote on peter firth to be a circuit court and vote on a tax treaty with spain. live coverage of the u.s. senate is here on cspan2. >>
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usmca that might come as a result of these negotiations that can improve the outcome of american workers
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i'm happy to consider. it's important to remember that usmca is better than nafta by nearly every standard, including labor and environment. so i hope discussions between house democrats and ambassador lighthizer is an exercise in getting to the yes that i feel speaker pelosi wants to get to. one particular area where everyone can agree is that enforcement across the board is a key compromise that must be hammered out. factors outside of farmers' hands such as an oversupply of grain in the global market, an unusually wet spring across the midwest, and natural disasters like flooding have all contributed to increased uncertainty and less profitability for farmers and leading to anxiety among those
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same farmers. passing the usmc will help alleviate some of that uncertainty and anxiety for the years ahead by providing stable export market for american corn, soybeans, pork and dairy to name just a few examples of the benefits not only to farming but the rest of the agenda for manufacturing and services. i yield the floor. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank the senator from iowa not only for all his work on behalf of agriculture but also for hid leadership on the finance committee which is so important to advancing the usmca. we'll go from the midwest to the south. this is an agreement that benefits all regions of the country, and so i now turn to the good senator from the great state of arkansas. a senator: thank you so much. i want to thank my colleague, senator hoeven, for organizing this very important event. mr. boozman: i think you sense a theme building here. many of my colleagues have
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spoken about the economic benefits urks usmc -- usmca holds for their specific states and i would like to add arkansas to the list. according to the arkansas trade center which does an comment job of promoting trade in my state and growing opportunities for our exporters, canada and mexico are arkansas' top trading partners by far. arkansas goods and services are exported to 181 counties but canada and mexico combine for over one-third of our exports in 2017. our exports to these two countries added $2.1 billion to arkansas' economy that year. nearly 69,000 jobs in my state are dependent on trade with canada and another 41,000 jobs are affected by trade with mexico. arkansas exports about $1.3 billion in goods to canada and another $182 million in
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services. i could go on but we've already covered a lot of statistics here today. it's important to remember that there are real people behind this data. they are the workers in the paper mills in south arkansas, the employees of the steel mills in northwest arkansas, the family partners producing rice in the delta, the line workers at the poultry processing plants in northwest arkansas. these arkansans and many more work in the industries that produce our top exports to mexico and canada. for them and countless others, the announcement that a trade agreement has been reached with canada and mexico was very welcomed and promising news. arkansas farmers, business leaders, and workers understand how vital it is to have free but also fair trade, particularly with our neighbors to the north and the south. it helps create the sense of certainty that is being sorely missing for our manufacturers, small businesses, and the agriculture industry.
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for agriculture community is particularly crucial that we push this agreement across the finish line. our farmers face a very tenuous situation right now. commodity prices are well below the cost of production. farmings in 2008 dropped sharply. farm debt has risen to levels not seen since the earl 1980's. a rainy spring have hampered planting season and in the case of arkansas produced one of the worst floods in the state's history. all of this combined has placed arkansas rural communities in dire conditions. far too many family farms are barely hanging on and sadly, many more are filing for bankruptcy. arkansas has a diverse economy ranging from aerospace and defense to steel production to the world's largest retailer but agriculture is by far our largest industry. it adds around $16 billion to
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our economy every year, and accounts for approximately one in every six jobs in arkansas. in my discussions with farmers on how we can help the same mantra is often repeated. they prefer trade over aid. while they appreciate the president's efforts to ease the pain during these trade standoffs, what they really need are more markets in which to sell their products. they understand that increased trade is the way forward to create a better long-term outlook for their operations. our neighbors to the north and south are our natural allies and trading partners. the president's team has worked hard to get canada and mexico to the negotiating table to formulize a more mutually benefit agreement. that hard work has paid off in the form of the usmca. now congress has a responsibility to see it through to the end. fair trade agreements have become increasingly important to arkansas' economy over the last
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half century. as the world becomes more interconnected, access to global markets is necessary not just for the large corporations that call arkansas home but also for small and medium size businesses that are looking to expand their operations and their footprints with a level playing field arkansas' agriculture, manufacturing, and small businesses can compete with anyone around the globe. giant step closer to that by swiftly approving usmca. thank you. mr. hoeven: i would like to thank the senator from arkansas for his words and also for his leadership in agriculture. now i turn to the senator from ohio who i think is going to touch on some of the aspects that are beneficial for the manufacturing sector. the senator from ohio. mr. portman: thank you to my colleague from north dakota, north dakota farmers and manufacturers because he's got a lot of manufacturing in his state as well. i've never had a better friend.
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that's why he's so strongly supportive of this agreement because it makes a big difference. my colleague from arkansas just talked about the fact that in arkansas there are two largest trading partners are canada and mexico. same with ohio. china is actually kind of a distant third. these two countries are critical for our exports. that's why this agreement is so important. i'm a former trade lawyer. i also was the u.s. trade representative under george w. bush and now i'm on the finance committee which is the committee that handles the trade issues. i think having a balanced and healthy trade relationship is really important. we have to stand up for our country and enforce the agreements we have. but we also need to expand the exports because that's what creates job, better paying jobs. better benefits. that's why we need to be sure we have agreements like this one. we've got about 5% of the world's population. and about 25% of the world's economy. we need to sell our stuff overseas. it gives us access to the 95% of
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the consumers who live outside of our borders. mexico and canada, as i said, are our biggest trading partners, 39% of our exports go to canada alone. that's ties the national afternoon. all in all, mexico and canada now supports more than 12 million jobs nationally. that's according to the u.s. chamber of commerce, 12 million jobs. we all know the existing agreement, this nafta agreement, north american free trade agreement has to be updated. it's now 25 years old and it looks like it. it doesn't have a lot of things you would expect in any modern agreement like how about taking care of the dinl tall economy. so much. our economy is over the internet yet there's nothing in this agreement that deals with that part of our economy. it's more than just a name change. it does include a lot of different aspects that we put in more modern agreements that don't have in the nafta agreement. another one is labor and environmental standards. not only are the standards stronger, but they're enforceable under this new agreement. they are not enforceable under nafta. auto jobs left the united states
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of america over the last 25 years. and one reason that this agreement is necessary is that the usmca shifts more auto production back to the united states. my colleague from north dakota talked about the manufacturing side. this is going to get the united states automobile assembly lines humming again. why? because car parts and cars, if you want to get the better tariff agreement under the usmca, they have to have higher content from north america. that means from us. so under nafta, the requirement was 61.5%. under usmca it's 75%. by the way, there's new provision that says 70% of the steel used in the automobiles has to be north american steel. both of these things helps to ensure we'll have more manufacture r manufacturing jobs in ohio and around the country. american farmers we heard earlier are going to gain access do new markets in canada and mexico. that's why ohio farm groups are for this. nearly 1,000 farm groups around the country now, i didn't know there were a thousand farm groups, have come out to support this agreement.
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small businesses in ohio and around the country whose bottom line relies on these internet sales, internet commerce is going to have much more access to canada and mexico thanks to these new digital economy provisions. so kind of helps across the board. by the way, these stronger labor standards in mexico we talked about are going to help level the playing field in terms of labor because labor costs are less in mexico, right. but it goes even further than that. it actually requires that 40% to 45% of a usmca vehicle made in mexico or anywhere in north america makes at least $16 an hour. this is revolutionary. it's different kind of thinking in a trade agreement. it's something you would expect from a democrat administration to put in an agreement, but it's in there, and it's going to help auto workers in this country. because of all these changes i have discussed -- by the way, many of which like the higher minimum wage or like the higher domestic content -- have been advocated by democrats in the past. that's the mirror approach to
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these trade agreements, not republicans so much. but because of these provisions being so good for workers, i must tell you i am surprised. even amazed to see so many of my democratic colleagues not stand up to support this agreement, because it has all these things that they said that they have wanted over the years, and they certainly don't like nafta. many of them have campaigned against nafta for the past 25 years. in a way, if you vote against usmca, you know what you're stuck with -- nafta. so in a way you're voting for nafta if you vote against usmca. it's a binary choice as they say. you're either for this new agreement that's an improvement or you go back to the status quo, which is nafta. so it will be interesting to see, but my hope is that the media and others, outside groups, will hold people accountable and say why would you be against an agreement that's better? even if it's not perfect, from your point of view. by the way, no trade agreement is absolutely perfect. every one of us would negotiate something slightly different. it's a question of trying to make sure you don't make the
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agreement, which is not perfect, the enemy of the good. and the good is to go to this new agreement. there is an outside independent study done by the international state commission showing that 176,000 new jobs will be added to the u.s. economy just in this agreement alone. so this is better. so the bottom line, do we continue under the outdated nafta or do we adopt these new usmca standards that will allow us to compete better in the global 21st century economy? a vote against usmca again is a vote for the status quo. without enforcement of labor and environmental standards, with outdated rules of origin that allow more automobiles and auto parts to be manufactured overseas instead of here in america. usmca addresses and solves all these problems. i put together a little handy chart here to talk about some of these specific provisions. usmca creates 176,000 new jobs. nafta, none. enforceable labor and environmental standards, usmca,
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yes, check mark. enforceable for nafta? no. rules for the internet economy. check mark. nafta, no. 70% of the steel in vehicles have to be made in north america. that's a new provision. not in any other trade agreement, by the way. yes on usmca, no on nafta. finally 40% to 45% of the vehicles must be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour. nafta, no. usmca, yes. so, i mean, it's pretty clear to me if you actually are honest about this and you look at it objectively and you say here are the two opportunities, which way would you go? so i hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle take a look at this and apply logic and say, you know, it might not be perfect, i might have wanted a little more here or there, but be sure that you're supporting what works for your workers. if we can get this agreement passed, the president will sign it, it will make a difference for employees, for farmers, workers, service providers in my home state of ohio and around the country.
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mr. hoeven: i introduced him as the senator from ohio, but i could have said he is the former ustr, trade ambassador, so i could have said ambassador department, and he was also the director of the office of management and budget. so when he gets up and talks about the comparison of usmca versus nafta, he certainly knows what he's talking about. and i appreciate you being here and the compelling case that you make based on many years of work and truly understanding these trade agreements and being part of developing them. so, again, my thanks to the good senator from ohio. i appreciate it very much. now i'm going to turn to somebody who appreciation the farmer the way i do, and that's the junior senator from iowa. ms. ernst: thank you, thank you to the senior senator of north dakota. thank you so much for your great work and pulling us all together. a number of us higher on the
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floor really appreciate the agricultural sector. we heard from my senior senator just a bit ago. but why am i so enthused about the usmca? it's because in the great state of iowa, one out of every five jobs is tied to trade. over 87,000, 87,000 farms make iowa our nation's top ag, pork, corn, soybean and ethanol producer. with canada and mexico being two of our biggest trading partners, the united states, mexico, canada agreement, or what we have been talking about here, the usmca, is a huge deal for the state of iowa. last year alone, my home state of iowa exported $6.6 billion worth of products to just canada
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and mexico. that's more than we exported to our next 27 top export markets all combined. 27 combined. and it still wasn't greater than what we sent to mexico and canada. this deal will allow those numbers to grow exponentially by creating new export opportunities for our dairy industry, greater access for our egg producers, and reducing nontariff trade barriers that previously hampered our exporting abilities. so, folks, it is critical, it is critical that we get the usmca across the finish line. but not just for the sake of getting a tremendous win for our agriculture community, but finalizing a deal that will impact the livelihoods of our hardworking iowans and all americans across the country.
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95% of the world's population lives outside of the united states of america, which makes our exports all that more important. having the usmca in place means certainty, certainty in a time where prices have been low and markets have been eroded from other trade negotiations. this trade deal preserves our duty-free access to mexican and canadian markets which many of our ag producers and manufacturers benefit from. i've heard from countless equipment dealers and processors all the way down to the farmers growing the crops and raising our hogs. ratifying this agreement will be a shot of positive energy into their businesses, their homes, and folks all across rural america. folks, when it comes to trade with our neighbors to the north and the south, it's simple.
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we need the usmca passed through congress as soon as possible. it's already been ratified by mexico, folks. they are done. the deal is done with mexico. and it looks like canada is set to follow suit. the usmca was signed on novembe. that's right. 2018. that's 228 days ago. 228 days. i'd say it's about time that speaker pelosi and our friends in the house signal their full support for this agreement. so, folks, it's time to get moving. we have got to get this deal done. we have got to get it across the finish line. iowa's farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses are counting on us to get this done. and with that, again, i'd like to say go usmca.
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thank you to the senior senator from north dakota for gathering us together. i think this is a really important topic for all of us to focus on. thank you. mr. hoeven: i would like to thank the senator from iowa and turn to somebody who has been working very hard for agriculture -- although still very young, he has been working very hard for agriculture for a very long time, and that's the senator from kansas who also happens to be our ag committee chairman. senator. mr. moran: thank you, senator hoeven. thanking you for getting this together, a colloquy with everybody that is concerned about this. this is what we do on the agriculture committee, working in a bipartisan way when we see an opportunity, and we certainly see this opportunity. thank you for leading this. you are an outstanding champion on behalf of agriculture. you are always riding on the posse, which i truly appreciate. i also want to thank senator
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brown from indiana, a valued member of the ag committee and pointing out some of the obstacles that we face. unfortunately, they tend to be on a partisan basis. some of the things that need to be talked about -- i know senator portman just brought that up with his chart. thank you for that participation. senator grassley who is a very valued member of the ag committee, chairman of the finance committee and obviously the committee of jurisdiction. especially pointing out, as senator ernst has pointed out, the value of agriculture to iowa. and for that matter, all over the country. senator boozman talked about arkansas and who was a valued member of the committee as well, next to the chair in terms of seniority. senator portman who has been pointed out is the former trade rep. we had in the past -- on the chart, i simply pointed out in
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detail why this new agreement is far superior to nafta and that we are working, as senator grassley pointed out, in working groups in the house with our lead negotiator, and i hope that works out. i certainly hope it works out. senator ernst will tell you it has been a very -- he is an outstanding champion for farmers and for that matter all around the country and on the committee as well, and with compassion, and also pointing out the need for certainty. now, since nafta was signed into law, the result has been that canada and mexico have been two of our strongest trading partners. i worked on nafta back in the day when i was in the house and served as ranking member and the honorable kiki de la garza of texas was the chairman. we went all over the country
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working on nafta. the result was with that agreement -- and every state can say the same thing and i think pretty much that's already been brought up, we're talking about 110,000 jobs in kansas, 110,000. those jobs are across all sectors of agriculture now and many are tied to agriculture, and the entire agriculture value chain. nafta secured greater market access for our farmers, ranchers, growers, everybody in between, and for our producers. today over a quarter of our country's agriculture exports are destined for canada and/or mexico. and as with every trade agreement, there is always room for improvements. it has been pointed out by all of my colleagues that the united states-canada-mexico agreement, the acronym for that is usmca. i did suggest that could also stand for the united states marine corps always, but that is
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the acronym that we're using. it has modernized the trade pact we have had for over 20 years. the u.s. agriculture industry desperately needs this trade agreement now to offer greater certainty and predictability regarding demand in the marketplace. certainty and predictability. that's what we promised in the farm bill and we passed the farm bill in this bill are 87 votes. that's a terrific vote, based on the premise that the most important thing we do is provide certainty and predictability for our farmers and ranchers and growers. as the chairman of the senate ag committee i have heard directly personally as all my colleagues have from producers and the broader agriculture industry regarding our challenging farm economy. every day our farmers, ranchers, growers are experiencing incredible challenges, including weather variability -- that's putting it mildly. i do not know what we have done to mother nature for her to act in this fashion.
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in kansas, the wheat harvest is a month late, and farmers still can't get their fields up in the northwest part, but amazingly the yield is pretty good, the protein is staying about the same, and we have seen a little bit, a little bit of price recovery. we need a lot more. the uncertainty regarding u.s. trade policy has led some of our most important trading partners to turn to our competitors. that's the ugly truth. at a time when the u.s. agriculture industry is facing new trade retaliation threats on top of the challenging agriculture economy, we must offer greater certainty and predictability for the farmers and ranchers across the country. i cannot emphasize enough how serious this is. this is the fourth or fifth year that we have experienced this situation. some farmers, ranchers -- not all but some are in a desperate situation. the passage of usmca will be,
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should be a pivotal step toward restoring the united states as a reliable supplier, not to mention tangible benefits. i urge my colleagues in the house or especially in the house to get together with ambassador lighthizer and work out these concerns that have been talked about, especially those by senator grassley, and to give fair and swift consideration to this new trade agreement. we must expand critical market access and create new opportunities for the united states agriculture. again, senator hoeven, thank you so much for your leadership and for sponsoring this colloquy. i yield. mr. hoeven: i would like to thank the senator from kansas and our ag committee chairman. at this point, i would ask a u.c. for up to an additional three minutes of time to allow the senator from colorado to make a few remarks, and then we would turn to the senator from
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vermont for his comments. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hoeven: all right. then at this point, i would turn to the senator from colorado for his remarks on usmca. mr. gardner: thank you. look, the usmca is incontributorily important to the state of colorado. wither a protrade state. of that 750,000 jobs, about 250,000, almost 250,000 of those jobs are related to trade with mexico and canada. nearly a quarter million of colorado's workers are there because of trade with canada and mexico. it's a nearly $5 billion share of our economy. that's the total number of goods and services and exports that canada -- to canada and mexico. that number has increased in value. of the potatoes that mexico gets
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come from colorado. 90% of the benches that mexico importers come from colorado. 96% of items imported by mexico come from colorado. if you look at the hides and other products that mexico imports, 87% of them come from colorado. we know that nafta has created thousands of jobs in colorado. we know it's added thousands of jobs to people's income. we know that usmca is a better, stronger opportunity for us to gain even more jobs, more income, more opportunity for the people of colorado. i thank senator hoeven for bringing people together on the the floor to talk about the importance of free trade and particularly the passage of usmca. and i hope our colleagues in the mouse will hear this call to a brighter economic future, more trade opportunities, greater u.s. leadership by moving with usmca, adopting it, putting it forward so that the senate can act on it and getting this off and into -- this agreement in to law so that we can actually once
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again start rebuilding opportunities with trade. so i'm strongly supportive of this effort. it is good for colorado, it's good for this country and i had thank both my colleague from north dakota and my colleague from vermont. mr. hoeven: i thank the senator from colorado. again, the message is clear. we need to pass usmca and we urge all of our colleagues, not only in in this carriage but in the house, to do that. and to get this done for our country across all of our sectors of our economy. and with that, i would turn to the senator from vermont and just express my thank you and appreciation to him. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. mr. leahy: thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i thank my friends from colorado and north dakota. madam president, the u.n.
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representative rapporteur on arbitrary killings recently release add report on the murder of jamal khashoggi after a six-month investigation. i wish everybody would read the report. i wish some in the administration would read the report. let me share several of her findings. mr. khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the saudi consulate in istanbul. it was a killing that violated numerous international laws and there is no question the government of saudi arabia is responsible. and, secondly, there is very credible evidence warranting further investigation for -- of the liability of high-level saudi arabia did i officials,
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and i might say especially the crown prince. thirdly, once turkey publicly announced mr. khashoggi's grizzly murder, the -- grisly murder, the saudi government obstruct the the investigation until the crime scene could be cleaned and there are reasons to conclude that the destruction of evidence could not have taken place without the crown prince's knowledge. and many would say instigation. saudi officials falsely denied knowledge of mr. khashoggi's murder for more than two weeks. they continue to deny responsibility. and, fifth, the trial of suspects who have been charged in saudi arabia will not deliver justice or the whole truth. six, jamal khashoggi's remains have yet to be located and turned over to his family. now, some have ignored the
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findings in the report, such as the lobbyists who continue to rake in millions of dollars from the saudi government. they've encouraged us to ignore the findings, but also the trump administration appears inclined to ignore them. but if you ignore the facts, it doesn't mean they didn't happen. it bears repeating, a journalist was murdered by the saudi government in a manner that implicates officials at the highest level in the royal family. the facts, the saudi government engaged in a flagrant cover-up and continues to deny any responsibility. the facts, the steps being taken to pursue justice are a sham. and after the release of the report -- the report was released, the saudi foreign minister dismissed the finding as not containing any new
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information. it is as if a murder and a cover-up and lack of accountability are irrelevant because they've been previously reported. and while many of the summary findings in the report may not be new, they're supported bid roughly 100 pages of detailed information in which the special rapporteur and her team talk amid official reports from saudi and turk iraq governments. they share excerpts of the gruesome intelligence information to which they had access. i would encourage every member of the senate -- republican and democrat -- to go and review the intelligence we have in this matter. when she presented the facts, her own conclusions and the methodology she used to reach those conclusions, she's very clear about where they were limitations on they are inquiry.
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but the report shows a meticulous and objective effort to find the truth. for that reason, it stands in stark contrast -- stark contrast -- to the approach taken by both the saudi government and the trump administration. the special rapporteur offered several recommendations, particularly some that are directed specifically to the u.s. they include the following -- open an f.b.i. investigation into the murder of mr. khashoggi. pursue criminal prosecutions within the united states as appropriate. make a determination under the global magnitsky human rights acts regarding the responsibility of the crown prince, the dee facto ruler of saudi arabia, to the greatest extent possible, consistent with national security. declassify materials related to
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the murder of mr. khashoggi. and again i'd urge my colleagues to read those materials. also, hold congressional hearings on the responsibility of top saudi officials. demand access to the relevant classified materials. look what happened. after ms. calamari's report was released, president trump, just like the saudi foreign minister, dismissed the findings. he made clear the intent to take no action in response to the report. he has stated emphatically his friendship with the crown prince and the fact that he's not going to look further into this murder. in addition, despite secretary pompeo's related claim that the administration is committed to holding each individual accountable, those aren't the facts.
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the facts in the murder of jamal khashoggi, the facts indicate the opposite. the administration continues to refuse to adhere to its legal requirements. the administration refuses to follow the law under the magnitsky act to determine liability of the murder, included the liability of the crown prince. in fact, president trump has made no effort to conceal that the administration's complicity in protecting the saudi royal family is linked to billions of dollars in sales of u.s. weapons to the saudi government. during interviews shortly after the report was released, the president admitted to not raising the u.n. report with the crown prince. he said, quote, saudi arabia is a big buyer of american products. that means something to me, close quote. the president is saying that the united states of america can be bought off -- can be bought off -- when there is a murder.
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in fact, i ask whether saudi arabia paid the right price for the united states to look the other way. president trump said, no. but not like a fao that says we don't want to do business with them. take their money, unquote. mr. president, i was a prosecutor for eight years. this -- this is not right. say you got billions of dollars you want to spend here. fine, we will look the other way. according to president trump, our relations with saudi arabia should not change regardless of the outcome of any investigation. think about that. the president is saying that no matter what the evidence shows, no matter how compelling the evidence implicating the crown prince in the murder and obstruction of justice, that should not affect our relations with the saudi government.
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this senator finds that a very shocking statement. instead, the administration is limited its response to imposing sanctions only against individual whose reportedly carried out the murder, as well as a few other officials believed to have played a role in ordering or facilitating the operation and has argued that by doing so, it has fulfilled its commitment to pursuing justified and in fact saying that okay we did some symbolic things. now let's not waste time finding the truth. it is the same as what the saudi government has done -- claimed to be holding the hitmen accountable while relieving the saudi royal family of any responsibility. turn your eyes, turn away, pretend you don't see what happened. the special rapporteur has rightly emphasize the pursuit of justice for jamal khashoggi is
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about finding the truth. secretary pompeo recently spoke about the need to ensure that our principles guide our policy. that's a view i have. i would hope we all have. i have to wonder what he meant by that pious statement. what principles was he talking about? there is no evidence the administration is being guided by principles in the khashoggi case. to the contrary, there's every reason to believe that this administration has made a calculated decision to do the opposite. in fact, the president has said as much. i've seen the evidence, and there should be nothing controversial about holding accountable a government that systematically represses and abuses its own people, that's currently, arbitrarily detaining american descension whom it has also reportedly tortured, american citizens it's tortured, has repeatedly committed war crimes in yemen, potentially
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implicates the united states, is responsible for the premeditated murder of a widely respected journalist. so i would hope that other senators will join me in calling on the trump administration -- lead the international community by example. our government should put special rapporteur calamari's recommendations into practice. we should urge other governments to do the same. when a reporter writing for a american newspaper is viciously, viciously murdered, then as one republican senator said in a case where there wasn't a smoking gun, there is a smoking saw. we do not accept -- we do not show an example to the rest of the world when the united states
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says we can't look at this murder, because after all they spend money in the united states. no, that's wrong. i yield the floor. mr. thune: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent to be able to complete my remarks before the vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. thune: madam president, a number of my colleagues were down here just a few moments ago talking about trade and the impact of trade on agriculture. i've been down here a lot on the floor to talk about the ag economy in recent weeks. if you look at our overall economy as a whole, it's thriving, but our nation's farmers and ranchers are still having a tough time thamptions to years of commodity and livestock prices that are below production cost because of protracted trade disputes, and now on top of that natural disasters. madam president, one of the most important things that we can do to help our agricultural
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economy is to negotiate favorable trade agreements for u.s. producers. our nation's farmers and ranchers depend on trade. in my home state of south dakota we export a substantial portion of the products we produce. right now though farmers and ranchers are facing a lot of uncertainty when it comes to trade. there are a number of outstanding trade agreements and farmers and ranchers are unsure what the rules of the road are going to look like in the future, which is why i've urged the administration to wrap up negotiations on the various trade deals under consideration as swiftly as possible. i strongly support the administration's goal of strengthening market access for our nation's farmers and ranchers, and we've made real progress in negotiations. now it's time to push for a conclusion to these deals and to give our nation's agricultural producers certainty about what international markets are going to look like. there's one deal, however, mr. president, that we don't need to wait for, and that is the united states-mexico-canada
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free trade agreement. negotiations on this trade agreement are finished. mexico has already passed the agreement and canada is just waiting for the united states to act. all we need is for speaker pelosi to indicate her willingness to take up this deal and the president will formally submit the agreement to congress for approval. mr. president, the united states-mexico-canada free trade agreement is a big win for our nation's farmers and ranchers. canada and mexico are the number-one and number-two export markets for american food and agricultural products. the united states-mexico-canada agreement will preserve and expand farmers' access to these critical market and give farmers sernlts about what -- certainty about what these markets will look like long term. dairy is an important and rapidly growing industry in south dakota. drive the i-29 corridor north of brookings and you can see firsthand what massive dairy
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expansion we've experienced in south dakota over the past few years. the u.s.-mexico-canada agreement will preserve u.s. dairy farmers' role as a key dairy supplier to mexico and it will substantially expand market access in canada where u.s. dairy sales have been restricted. the u.s. international trade commission estimates that the agreement will boost u.s. dairy exports by more than $277 million. the agreement will also expand market access for u.s. poultry and egg producers and it will make it easier for u.s. producers to export wheat to canada. mr. president, i spent my time today talking about the agricultural industry, but of course this agreement goes much further. the united states-mexico-canada agreement will benefit virtually every sector of our economy from manufacturing to digital services to the automotive industry. it will create 176,000 new jobs, grow our economy, and
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raise wages for workers. mr. president, it's time to pass this agreement and to realize its economic benefits. senate republicans are ready. we're ready to approve this agreement once the white house submits it to congress. we're just waiting for democrat leaders in the house to indicate their willingness to take up the deal. it's time for them to do so. democrats' concerns have been more than addressed throughout the negotiation process. the final trade agreement is perhaps the most worker-friendly trade agreement the united states has ever considered and it's a big improvement on the north american free trade agreement, the agreement under which we're currently operating on the issues over which democrats have expressed concern. mr. president, if they're serious about making progress on these issues and are not just trying to sink the u.s.-mexico-canada agreement with specious objections, democrats should give the president the go-ahead and take up and pass this agreement in the near future. mr. president, i yield the
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floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question is on the nomination. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change his or her vote? if not, the yeas are 56. the nays are 40. and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table. and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions. the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we
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the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the treaties calendar number 1, treaty doc 113-4, the protocol amending the tax convention with spain signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the protocol amending the tax convention with spain shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 94. the nays are 1. and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the trea treaty. the clerk: resolution of advice and consent to ratification of the protocol to the tax convention with spain. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. risch: i ask unanimous consent that the amendment number 910 be withdrawn and the
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only amendments in order to treaties calendar number 1 be the paul amendments number 924 to the treaty and 921 to the resolution of ratification. further, that at 5:00 p.m., the senate vote on the paul amendment number 924 following disposition of that amendment, the resolution of ratification be reported and the senate vote on paul amendment numbered 921 take place. following disposition of that amendment, the senate vote on the resolution of ratification with no intervening action or debate and that if the resolution of ratification is agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. further, that the only amendments in order to the treaties calendar numbers 2, 3, and 4 be the paul amendments numbered 922, 919, 923, 918, and 920. finally, the cloture motions in relation to treaties calendar number 2, 3, and 4 be withdrawn.
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the pending amendments to the treaties be withdrawn, and the senate vote on the ratification of the treaties at a time to be determined by the majority leader in consultation with the democratic leader on wednesday, july 17. finally, i ask unanimous consent that the cloture motions with respect to corker, blanchard, and tapia nominations ripen following disposition of treaties calendar number 4. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the pending amendments are withdrawn.
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mr. paul: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent that the following interns in my office be granted floor privileges for the remainder of congress, ava knessetter, taylor, jesse green, zack pendington, kathleen dungeon, and samuel griece. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: mr. president, i call up my amendment number 924. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. paul, proposes an amendment to 924.
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mr. paul: i ask consent the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: mr. president, for several years now i've been working on tax treaties that we have with other countries to try to protect americans' privacy. i think it's very important that your personal information, what you buy are your credit card, what checks you write, what you do with your bank account is private. it's yours and it's not to be sifted through or rummaged through by the government. i'm very, very concerned that over time, particularly with technology, that the i.r.s. is gaining too much power at the push of a button to simply sift through our bank accounts looking for anomalies. i think it is important that we do protect americans who live overseas, about eight million americans live overseas and i think the vast majority of them
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are law-abiding citizens. this debate has been going on for several years now. i first tried to engaging the obama administration in this. we had meeting after meeting, but no meaningful engagingment. we have been currently involved with negotiations with the trump administration that has been more open to discussions of how we protect americans' privacies. unfortunately, these negotiations were sabotaged by the republican leader who chose to bring these tax treaties forward at a time when we were in the middle of negotiations. this is very disappointing to me because i think we were in the midst of achieving a deal that would protect the private lives of americans. this process has been severely damaged and short circuited by the republican leader choosing to push this forward and destroy the negotiations that we were having at the time. when we look at these treaties and we say, well, how could we make them better, there are ways
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that we could actually make them better. there are also ways that these treaties could have come up at any point in this time in the past. no one senator can really block legislation. the fact that this legislation hasn't come up for several years is really due to the fact that the republican leader has failed to engaging in any meaningful compromise or discussion over these. the treaties are being brought up against my objections now so they could have been brought up against my objections two years ago, four years ago, six years ago. so really the fault and responsibility for the delay in these tax treaties lies squarely at the foot of the republican leader who has failed to engaging on this subject and has chosen rather at the end just to rush them through without any meaningful debate. americans are constitutionally guaranteed to be free from unreasonable, suspicion of search or at least we used to
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be. today this chamber begins deliberation of four tax treaties and they violate the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable search. to be sure these treaties would bestow benefits to the united states and our trading partners and those provisions have my support. in fact, i said for years now i support the gist of the treaties that tries to prevent double taxation and makes it easier for companies to do business overseas as well as to do business in our country. that's why i said from the beginning, let's negotiate a settlement. let's try to put taxpayer protections into the treaties. but at every point we've been stymied. the benefits of these treaties i don't think should come at the grave expense of violating the rights of every american with a foreign bank account, regardless of whether there is a shred of evidence that a crime has been committed. these treaties make it easier for tax authorities, such as the
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i.r.s., to obtain an american citizens' bank deposit information. previously the i.r.s. could only obtain such information if it was necessary to address a tax dispute. but that's not the standard these treaties will keep. in the past there had to be at least an accusation of wrongdoing, an accusation of fraud, an accusation that a taxpayer was doing something against the law. these treaties, though, will allow the i.r.s., the government agency that instills terror in every citizen it contacts, the government agency that has almost limitless power to put anybody out of business, this will allow the i.r.s. to obtain individual bank account records if that information is foreseably relevant or may be relevant. think about that for a minute, what the standard is here. so the government can look in your bank account if you happen to be an mesh who does --
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american who does business overseas, if it may be relevant, really may be relevant to the tax code as the standard, may be relevant to the question instead of is relevant to an active investigation concerning wrongdoing by a taxpayer. i think this is a big mistake. it is going to lead to bulk transfer of information from countries back and forth. we live in an era when people leave some country or another hoping to get away from totalitarianism and authorities that may well debit their account based on political behavior. i think it is a mistake to have the information transferred back and forth without any kind of standard. the standard is foreseably relevant. what kind of standard is that. historically the standard required at the accusation of a crime, it will no longer require that. will it require suspicion of a crime? no. it will require anything the
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government asks that had may be relevant to the treaty, that may be relevant to the tax code, which is no standard at all, no american overseas will have any kind of protection of their privacy. some recent international court decisions have provided an idea as to what meets this new standard. according to the swiss federal supreme court, under the new standard of these new tax treaties, the foreseably standard, an information request will be denied if the link between the requested data and target is improbable. no consideration is necessary as to whether or not the reasonable suspicion -- no consideration is necessary as to whether or not there is reasonable suspicion of a crime. people can go after the information basically based on no accusation of a crime, no
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suspicion of a crime. it will be a fishing expedition. mr. president, perhaps we should thank the swiss federal supreme court for effectively telling us what we already knew, that the forseably relevant standard is really no standard at all. at a time when the united states is over $22 trillion in debt and running annual trillion dollar deficits, this would give the i.r.s. the ability to get the bank account information under the weakest of pretenses. the information is exchanged with no questions asked, no reasonable suspicion and no due process in an effort to swell the coffers of the u.s. treasury. i am outraged, the senate should be outraged and americans should be outraged their their -- that their liberties are set aside so the i.r.s. can shake down more taxpayers. my amendment to the treaties
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would end bulk exchanges of financial records by mandating that the united states and our treaty partners would exchange information only if an identified individual is subject to an individual investigation related to the enforcement of the tax code. i'm not against going after people not paying their taxes, but i am going against the eight million americans who live overseas and are just trying to abide by the laws and just trying to earn a living. well, those who have evaded their tax obligations much be -- must be held to account. the right to power and seize is not the right of any country. this does not allow the i.r.s. to rummage through our bank accounts hoping to find a crime. obtaining the deposit account information of an american should be done on an individualized basis without
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indiscriminate sweeps of information gathering. i urge every senator top stand up for the fourth amendment rights of all americans and support my amendment. my amendment would put a standard into the treaties that says there has to be suspicion. you have to individualize an investigation. you can't push a button and search through eight million americans' bank records overseas. if we allow this to go without personal privacy protections, we're setting ourselves up for a dystopian nightmare where the government looks at every transaction, every purchase and everything we do in our lives. it's a big mistake to let this go. there's no reason why this couldn't be corrected. i've spoken to the countries involved and they have assured me that there is not a problem at all with making these amendment changes to the treaties, and yet they have fallen on deaf ears. it's a sad day for the american taxpayer and sad day for privacy that these tax treaties are
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being rushed through. i strongly object and hope that other senators will consider voting for taxpayer privacy. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. mr. risch: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the vote take place after the completion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. risch: mr. president, today the senate is considering four tax protocols, these treaties, and they are treaties, have been approved by bipartisan majorities in multiple successive congresses. two of these four protocols reported out of committee without objection during the four most recent congresses. it is in the interest of u.s. taxpayers that these be approved and it is time for these to be approved. i'm honored that on my watch we have finally brought these to the floor and brought them here at this moment to actually adopt
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these treaties, which will be adopted when the vote is called.
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to help resolve tax disputes between the u.s. and our tax treaty partners. without the tools, u.s. investors would have limited ability to solve the problems on their own. it's not just businesses that benefit from tax treaties, they impose reasonable limits on the amount of tax the other country can impose on a u.s. person who might live or work overseas. tax treaties help us ensure that the u.s. can maintain an appropriate tax base by preventing tax fraud. one of our colleagues has raised concerns about how the treaties deal with individual privacy and sensitive information. these treaties protect taxpayer information in a manner consistent with decades long established standards and practices under u.s. domestic law. these
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standards and practices have been upheld by the united states supreme court for more than half of a century. they have been used by administrations of both parties for decades. changing the standard now would create confusion related to the global administration of our tax laws. i do not view this issue as an impediment or a change to how these matters have been successfully handled in the past. i ask my colleagues to oppose any amendments to these treats. treaties are consistent with the u.s. model tax treaty and with decades-long practice of enforcing our tax laws. to be clear, any amendment to had this resolution that changes the underlying provisions of these treaties will require acceptance by both our president and the foreign partner or the treaty cannot be ratified. these amendments constitute a material change to the treaties. they are damaging and would lead to potentially years of further delay when further delay is simply not acceptable. these
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these treaties have been held up for eight years and i'm very pleased this week we are finally moving forward in our role of advice and consent to the president on these commonsense treaties. it is time to move for the senate to act on these treaties and vote. i urge my colleagues to approve them and to vote against the proposed amendments. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from idaho. risch --. mr. risch: mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that senator paul have up to five minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. under the previous order, the
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question is on the pending amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk should call the roll. vote: vote:
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 4, the nays are 92. the amendment is not agreed to. the clerk will report the resolution of ratification. the clerk: resolution of advice and consent to ratification of the protocol to the tax convention with spain. mr. paul: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i call up my amendment numbered 921. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. paul, proposes an amendment numbered 921 to the resolution of ratification for treaty doc 113-4.
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in section 1, in the section heading, strike declaration and condition, and insert declaration, conditions, and a reservation. mr. paul: i ask consent that the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: madam president. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. paul: i'm offering a reservation to these treaties -- the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. will senators take your conversations off the floor. mr. paul: madam president, i am offering a reservation of these treaties that would maximize the benefit for individuals and businesses that are impacted by these tax provisions. my proposed reservation would establish only for the united states and only for our tax purposes an effective date of january 1, 2019. by entering into these treaties, the u.s. and our partners are committing to the same set of tax rules in solving the problems of double taxation that plagues businesses that operate in several countries.
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senate debate on the merits of these treaties has taken many years, and there is no reason to punish american companies that paid their foreign taxes but were then double taxed by the i.r.s. due to the lack of a ratified treaty. as i have said many times, i support the benefits of these treaties. i wish that we had added privacy protections, but i do support the benefits of avoiding double taxation. i also support making whole those who have been double taxed, and i think it's the right thing to do to back date these to the beginning of the year. my proposed reservation would grant these companies and the i.r.s. the additional benefit of having a uniform taxes for 2019 -- the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. the senate will be in order. please take your conversations off the floor. mr. paul: to give you an example of a company in my state that would benefit, north american stainless cannot pay dividends without being subject to double taxation. if we are to make this retroactive, we do not punish this company in my state. it is, however, disappointing to me that the senior senator from
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kentucky has led the opposition to this amendment because it would stand to benefit greatly a kentucky company. it also would stand greatly to benefit many companies around the country if we were simply to make this retroactive. we have talked to the countries involved, and there is not one country that has expressed any reservation in this, so it is with great disappointment that i have to oppose the senior senator from kentucky who is opposing this amendment, rallying those in the body to prevent this from being retroactive. this would in no way slow down the treaties, and it is inappropriately said by some that it would. these treaties would go through with flying colors, and the reservation would only apply to our country. so i hope those who are thinking about how to vote on this will consider voting to make these treaties start on january 1 of this year. thank you.
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the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, the yeas are 4, the nays are 92. the amendment is not agreed to. the question occurs on the resolution of the ratification of the treaty. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote: vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 94, the nays are 2, two-thirds of the senators having voted in the affirmative, the resolution is agreed to. under the previous order, the motion to reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the president will be notified of senate's action. the presiding officer: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask that the senate vote on the resolutions for
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treaties 2, 3, and 4, as under the previous order, and if the resolutions are agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table, and the president be immediately notified of the senate's action. i ask that following disposition of treaties calendar number 4, the senate resume consideration of the corker nomination and notwithstanding rule 22, at 2:0n the cloture motions on the corker, blanchard, and tapia nominations and that it be determined with consultation of the minority leader. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to lf session with -- lf session with senators permitted to speak ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to calendar number 103, senate res. 474.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 74, marking the fifth anniversary of ukraine's revolution of dignity and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. thune: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the portman amendment to the resolution be greed to. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i know of no further debate. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, everyone in favor say aye. anyone opposed? the amendment is agreed to. mr. thune: i ask that the committee-reported amendment to the preamble be withdrawn, the preamble be amended as amended be agreed to and the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. thune: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of calendar number 76, s. 375. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 76, s. 375, a bill to improve efforts on government-wide improper payments and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding? weeks, the senate will proceed -- woks, the senate will -- without objection the senate will proceed. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: i ask that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of 139, senate res. 198. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 198,
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condemning the human rights back sliding. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection, the senate will proceed. mr. thune: i ask that the committee-reported substitute amendment be agreed to, the committee-reported amendment to the permit -- to the preamble be agreed to, the preamble, as amended, be agreed to and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: madam president, i understand there is a bill at the desk and i ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the first time. the clerk: an act to extend authorization for the september 11 victim compensation fund 2001 through fiscal year 209 it and for -- 2092. mr. thune: i ask that the bill be placed on the calendar.
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the presiding officer: objection being heard, the bill will receive second reading on the next day. mr. thune: when the senate completes its business, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, morning business be closed, and the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of treaty number 2, treaty document number 112-1. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: senate stands adjourned until stands adjourned until
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they will the other texturing followed by senate coverage here on suspension. you will start fight to the member. apollo 11 launched from the kennedy space center and scientific equipment and tools for samples on the lunar surface. check c-span schedule. former special counsel robert mueller is testifying on back-to-back hearings of abuse of power by president trump and russian interference of the 26 presidential election, live on the coverage
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>> amy klobuchar talked about her priorities would be as president. she spoke at the national press club earlier today. [applause] good morning again everybody. welcome again to the national press club. i am a correspondent in the news. we had a great program this money and we invited you on twitter at prescott bc with the # nbc life.

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